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BC beats Harvard in Beanpot semifinal, advances to sixth title game in seven years

Boston College advanced to its sixth Beanpot championship in seven years with a 3-2 win over Harvard on Monday night at TD Garden.

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

BOSTON -- When Boston College jumps out of the gate, you'd better hold onto your hats.

The Eagles buzzed right from the opening draw and scored first just 95 seconds into Monday's Beanpot semifinal opener at TD Garden, but it turned out to never be easy.

Seventh-ranked Harvard clawed its way back and ultimately took a lead through one period, but the No. 5 Eagles persevered as they always seem to do and earned a 3-2 win over Harvard.

"I think we're all on the top of our games (lately) ... so it was a good test for us," BC head coach Jerry York said. "I thought Harvard gave us all we could handle tonight."

The Eagles advance to play for their sixth Beanpot in seven years with their 18th victory of the season. It is also a crucial one for national implications as BC entered the night as the sixth-ranked team in the PairWise.

Freshman defenseman Casey Fitzgerald opened the scoring with his third goal of the season and the earliest in a Beanpot game in ten years.

Older brother Ryan played the puck out of the right corner, sending a perfect pass to Casey between the circles for a wrist shot that beat Harvard sophomore Merrick Madsen.

The Eagles' shots were more numerous, but their opposition made up in quality.

Harvard scored twice on its first two shots on goal in the first period and carried a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.

Freshman Ryan Donato scored first for the Crimson at 9:46. Donato picked up a lucky carom off a blocked shot, sped through the neutral zone and tucked his sixth goal of the season between BC junior goaltender Thatcher Demko's pads.

The Crimson jumped ahead just under five minutes later as defenseman Adam Baughman scored his first collegiate goal at 14:44. His shot from the point trickled home as teammate Jimmy Vesey crashed the net and screened Demko in front.

"It was nice to see him step up and score an important goal for us," Donato said of the Chicago native rookie. "He's worked hard. It's never easy when you're a new guy and can't play because of health.

Demko allowed goals on the first two shots he faced, but pitched a clean sheet the rest of the way. The junior netminder and Canucks prospect made ten saves in the middle frame and finished with 21 on the night as he improved to 3-0-2 in his last five starts.

"I thought the second was a scramble and it was kind of hard (to see)," Demko said. "I thought he looked pretty solid in net for the 60 minutes. You want to expect a lot of shutouts from him, but it's hard."

Harvard was not penalized for the game's first 25 minutes, but the Eagles took advantage of their first two power plays in the second period. Oddly enough, BC is 3-0-1 on the season when trailing after 20 minutes.

"(The power play) was huge," BC freshman Colin White said. "We worked a lot in practice this week on it. We hadn't been moving pucks too well, but tonight we were moving them quick. I think it worked well for us, and we were able to get two big goals there."

Sophomore Zach Sanford found the back of the net at 6:05, cleaning up the rebound from Ian McCoshen's point shot at the top of Madsen's crease.

White continued his pacesetting freshman season for the Eagles, scoring his 16th goal ― and fourth in as many games ― on a great move to the front of the net at 10:29. The Hanover, Mass., native has now posted 11 multi-point games this season.

"It was a really outstanding play by Whitey," York said. "Having said that, I thought our upperclass kids, they kind of led the way. We've got some really good freshmen, but the leadership, drive and determination that you need is kind of fueled by those guys."

Captain Teddy Doherty, one of the upperclassmen York mentioned, recorded the primary assist in his fifth straight game as a forward, feeding White to drive to the front of the net where he waited out his defender and rifled a high shot past Madsen from close range.

Neither side found the back of the net in the third period as the Eagles held a 13-6 shooting advantage.

The win was BC's 12th in a row against the Crimson in the Beanpot and its 24th in 44 one-goal games all-time in the tournament.